Well, Paris in five days, but I’m not focused on that yet. My sister and brother are in town, and this evening we are having our big family dinner. When my parents and all five kids get together, I love to have a big meal. We are also celebrating Easter a week early as I’ll be in Paris. Mom wants to celebrate Mother’s Day a little early; why not? Tomorrow is my parents’ 54th wedding anniversary, and my favorite brother-in-law also had a small stroke this week, from which he has made a full recovery. We certainly have lots to be thankful for, so let’s party!
I loaded up on free flowers from my neighbor Maria at the Saturday market, who also gave me six pints of strawberries. It was a wonderful way to start the day~
I showed the flowers on my front table in a pair of terra cotta pots I got at Rogers Gardens this week; love these and will use them a lot. Some of these flowers will go on top of the cake tonight~
There is always a lot of planning that goes into these family events; I’ve learned over the years that I have to be organized to have a successful dinner. I started a menu a week ago, and after a few edits, decided on mostly Italian food. We’ll start with a variety of little pizzas, topped with arugula, prosciutto, eggplant, goat cheese, grilled onions and pesto; then move on to lemon risotto, spaghetti carbonara, porc Milanese, a small leg of lamb, two chickens, shaved asparagus salad with parmesan and a green salad. There will be 14 of us, and so no problem with my family eating through that much food, though there is not a full portion of all of that for everyone; I’ll explain later. I started shopping on Thursday, with a flat of free range eggs from Eben-Haezer Farms, then did more food shopping on Friday and Saturday. Three farmers markets and six stores later, I have all that I need.
Last evening I sent my parents off to dinner with my sister, while I got busy and made all the desserts: white layer cake with whipped cream and cassis filling, lemon torte with lavender cream and fresh berries, strawberry parfaits and my favorite for this meal, Jonathan Waxman’s chocolate budino or pudding. I added a little orange zest, and piped the pudding into a series of glasses, including six impossibly tall and slender flutes that were a gift from Laura. Each one is topped with a little cream and raw cacao nibs. Here they are chilling; I can’t wait to taste this~
Meanwhile, the kitchen got cleaned and all the greens got washed, and set outside the kitchen door in a basket, waiting for the production of the meal today. I have my niece coming over to help me cook, so today she gets to learn how to make risotto and a few other dishes…
We will eat outside under the loggia and I had my brother-in-law and the kids help me string up the pastel paper lanterns yesterday. It’s going to be a grand dinner, and of course I will be taking lots of photos!
Enjoy your Sunday~